So here's my storyline for this week:
We opened Nunsense last Friday, and it has been such a joy to live in the skin of Sister Mary Amnesia again.
The last time I played her was ten years ago. I was 20 years old, about to transfer to the University of Michigan and felt that the world was my oyster.
At a certain age, you feel invincible. The world hasn't beaten you down yet and every possibility feels like it is open to you. I hadn't yet fully realized how talented everyone else was, and had a strong belief in my own abilities and potential. Basically, I thought I was the s*%t (excuse my French). I wasn't conceited so much as supremely confident that everything was going to work out just as I had planned.
I was going to get my BFA at Michigan and move to New York and become a Broadway star, transition to Film and TV and have my own series. Believing in yourself that much can be magical.
So I marched my little butt down to a professional theatre in Orange County, and had the audacity to decide that I was going to play Sister Mary Amnesia. And my self belief sold itself to the director and music director and at 20 I landed the most challenging role of my life.
In retrospect, I was nowhere near prepared to tackle the challenges of Amnesia - the comedy, the several octaves of vocal range, the emotional arc. But I had no idea at the time. I worked harder than I ever have in my life - even learning ventriloquism - and I did it. Somehow, I did it. I was so proud. I grew so much. And it was one of those shining moments where I set my mind to wanting something and achieved it. It glimmers in my memory as a time I really pushed myself beyond my limits. To be honest, I really felt like superwoman.
At the time, I was carrying 20 college credits, teaching acting and dance classes two days a week, co directing and choreographing a production of Bye, Bye Birdie, and working a part time retail job. All on top of making that one hour each way drive (without traffic - I don't even want to talk about what it was like with traffic) to Orange County five days a week for rehearsals.
Just the thought of what my life was like then gives me a border line panic attack. I think I must have been crazy. Now, I can barely manage my weekly teaching schedule, regular auditions and this production of Nunsense.
That time in my life shaped a lot of who I am today, and I am so grateful for it. I am also grateful for the opportunity to revisit such a special role with a lot more training and some serious humility. The experience has been very different. I would hope that I am doing better work at 30 than I was at 20, but it would be nice to have back a little bit of the confidence and audacity I had at that age.
We could all use a little more confidence and self belief, right? Shouldn't we all remember what it is to dream big?
And who knows, maybe I will get a chance to benchmark with Amnesia again at 40!
|Sister Mary Amnesia with Sister Mary Annette, 2013|
|Sister Mary Amnesia with Sister Mary Annette, 2003|